The Ultimate Christian Authority?

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Harley_Angel

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#1
In a really nice email converstion between me and my hometown priest, which I'll be posting as soon as I get his permission, he mentioned that my particular branch of church believes the Bible is a guideline to social and moral Christian ethics and in the end, needs to be used with the Holy Spirit to make decisions. He was mentioning that a lot of it will contradict itself when we use the pick and chose method of using scriptural verses and that anything that doesn't specifically defy the Nicene and Apostle's creed is actually open to interpretation through discernment with the Holy Spirit.

What do you all think? Is the Bible a set in stone, read at face value only absolutly firm book of rules? Or do you believe it's the foundations for a moral and ethic Christian code that can be interpreted through study and whta the Holy Spirit moves you to believe the text is saying?


I'm going to see if Father Kelly Lackey minds if I quote what he's been saying in my conversations, because I think what he's been saying to me is VERY different than what I hear around here a lot. Hes a younger Episcopal priest and wouldn't really be under the "fundamentalist" banner. So it'll be interesting to see what others have to say about his words.
 
C

Cup-of-Ruin

Guest
#2
In a really nice email converstion between me and my hometown priest, which I'll be posting as soon as I get his permission, he mentioned that my particular branch of church believes the Bible is a guideline to social and moral Christian ethics and in the end, needs to be used with the Holy Spirit to make decisions. He was mentioning that a lot of it will contradict itself when we use the pick and chose method of using scriptural verses and that anything that doesn't specifically defy the Nicene and Apostle's creed is actually open to interpretation through discernment with the Holy Spirit.

What do you all think? Is the Bible a set in stone, read at face value only absolutly firm book of rules? Or do you believe it's the foundations for a moral and ethic Christian code that can be interpreted through study and whta the Holy Spirit moves you to believe the text is saying?


I'm going to see if Father Kelly Lackey minds if I quote what he's been saying in my conversations, because I think what he's been saying to me is VERY different than what I hear around here a lot. Hes a younger Episcopal priest and wouldn't really be under the "fundamentalist" banner. So it'll be interesting to see what others have to say about his words.
John 16:13

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he speaks not of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that he shall speak: and he will show you things to come."

It is indeed the Holy Spirit that is the spirit of truth and it is he that guides the Christian into truth, so the Bible cannot be interpreted without the Holy Spirit, that is why we see so many people not understanding what is written, they cannot understand, it is impossible. The Holy Spirit is almost like a code breaker, a key to unlocking scripture, the Spirit guides and interprets scripture then testifies to the reader to whom the Spirit has been sent by Jesus Christ. Like how Jesus says to the Jews 'You cannot hear Me, because the truth is not in you', that's why the unforgivable sin is the sin against the Holy Spirit which is the Spirit of truth, and Jesus Christ is 'the way , the truth, and the light'.
 
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Harley_Angel

Guest
#3
Thank you Cup. To be quite honest, I think some of what is in the Bible is timeless and some of it was foundations for the starting place of Christ's church and may have changed with the times. I think those changes are one of the reasons God gave us the Holy Spirit, so that churches could do what's best for the people in times that are different than when Christ was here. I think the Bible was designed to be interpreted, not read at face value, so it COULD be a timeless guideline. Maybe some of the things that were imparitive to the early church aren't so necessary now, like women staying silent in church. Maybe believing in oneness and the trinity are BOTH right depending on how the Holy Spirit helps you intepret the scriptures. SOme people can look at a rock and say, thats' a rock, some will say it's a stone, others are going to say that's marble or granite or whatever other mineral componite it is, others are going to say that it's a piece of earth. Are any of them wrong? No, but they all look at that rock with different eyes, different experiences, and different interpretations. I think that's the way the bible is too.
 
J

Jezreel

Guest
#4
First of all Jesus Christ said, "call no man father except for your father in heaven and call no man teacher as you are all bretheran in him.
The Episcopal church is basically the same as Roman Catholocism except for a few very minor differences. King Henry the 8th started it The Church of England so he could divorce his wives and, if he couldn't he cut off their heads. Episcopal is the same thing as Church of England. I remember repeating the Apostles Creed in church as a youngster. I never heard the gospel preached to be saved in it and I got tired of all the dead forms and ritualistic lifeless practices and could not wait to get the heck out of there! I read my child's story bible nearly all the time and even from what I learned in that, I did not hear preached at all and so it was very boring and unexciting. I hated going through confirmation. I quit going and didn't believe in what I was having to do to take the Lord's supper. Remember, he had to go to a seminary where theology was taught to him and you would be surprised that most of these men do not even believe the bible and the virgin birth. They do it for a job.
 
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Harley_Angel

Guest
#5
I respect your opinion, but the Episcopal church is where I found God in my life again. As I'm growing, I am also questioning the things the Episcopal church stands for, and deciding if I believe in the same things. The priest that I talked to is someone I trust very much with my spiritual life. This isn't just a job for him, if it was, he would have quit before he started, so I respect his opinion. To be honest, I enjoy very much talking to people who have been to seminary and have learned theology beyond what you get preached at church. I like having the perspective of a scholarly view, learning what the history, the culture, the etymology of the Bible and the stories in it are. It gives me a deeper understanding and helps me discern what I believe and don't. Some people prefer the warm cuddly "home cookin" style of the Bible where it's preached to them at near face value. Some people can simply accept what their preacher says to them on sunday in the pulpit and take teh stories in the Bible as they are and go on. That's awesome! But, I enjoy the ritual of the Episcopal eucharist because it helps get me in a mind frame to really absorb what's getting said. I preach love and understanding to everyone, but when I learn, I want an almost unemotional format given to me, I want facts, and I want history, and I want a very learned sermon. I feel I get that from the Episcopal church. I would go to seminary simply so I could get that education, and at one point I wanted to be ordained. Being ordained is still in the back of my mind, but I'm waiting to see if the Holy Spirit keeps calling it to me after I noticed I wanted to go into it for my own glory and not God's. We will see.

I love reading my Bible, but again, sometimes, I feel like I'm not getting everything, and that everything is context. I want to know what was going on at the time when paul was writing his letters. I want to know what the laws were like in Jesus's time, what the culture was like, what their mannerisms were. Stuff like that is important to me.
 
J

Jezreel

Guest
#6
That is alright. Just remember that "antiChrist comes in with flatteries" and he that flatters with the tongue works ruin. Be on guard that if anybody flatters you to keep you, or, vice versa, there is a scripture that says that men "having a form of godliness but they deny the power, these are they that sneak into houses leading silly women laden with sins captive and are never coming to the knowledge of the truth" Timmothy.
Being built up and edified in the word of God is very different than flattery. A true man of God will point you to Jesus. A hireling gets paid a paycheck and does it for a job and will want you to put your faith in him. A truly ordained man of God will point you to Jesus all the time.
 
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Harley_Angel

Guest
#7
I agree Jezreel. Thank you for your thoughts on the subject! It's so hard finding that balance of letting people teach you and constantly being on guard lol.
 

pickles

Senior Member
Apr 20, 2009
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#8
I have always believed that the bible is the living word of God. I also believe that within the word we see and recieve teaching through the power of the Holy Spirit. This understanding only comes from The Spirit. God bless, pickles
 
J

jokesandjoy

Guest
#9
Thank you Cup. To be quite honest, I think some of what is in the Bible is timeless and some of it was foundations for the starting place of Christ's church and may have changed with the times. I think those changes are one of the reasons God gave us the Holy Spirit, so that churches could do what's best for the people in times that are different than when Christ was here. I think the Bible was designed to be interpreted, not read at face value, so it COULD be a timeless guideline. Maybe some of the things that were imparitive to the early church aren't so necessary now, like women staying silent in church. Maybe believing in oneness and the trinity are BOTH right depending on how the Holy Spirit helps you intepret the scriptures. SOme people can look at a rock and say, thats' a rock, some will say it's a stone, others are going to say that's marble or granite or whatever other mineral componite it is, others are going to say that it's a piece of earth. Are any of them wrong? No, but they all look at that rock with different eyes, different experiences, and different interpretations. I think that's the way the bible is too.
How do you know if you are truly interpreting it with the Holy Spirit's help? There are so many different interpretations, and I'm pretty sure they're all (or, mostly) from well-meaning people who truly believe that the Holy Spirit is guiding them, but these interpretations often contradict each other and so it is impossible for the Holy Spirit to truly be guiding all of them at any rate. So how do you know if you are interpreting it correctly?
 
L

logos83

Guest
#10
I truly believe in a believer life the Bible is the Final Authority. "To the law and to the testimoy: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:20

Yes today there are many different interpretation, but this is because we don't trust the Holy Spirit and allow His love into our hearts. "(22) Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren , see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: (23) Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (24) For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: (25) But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you."

Jesus said," Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me." John 5:39 For us Christians, Jesus also tells us, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy Word is truth." John 17:17 Yes we as believers in Christ are sanctify by the truth of His Words which gives us eternal life.

By the Word of God we have hope (Romans 15:4) and receive doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruciton (II Timothy 3:16-17).

Yes because we all still have a sin nature which is our true nature (I Corinthians 2:14), the Word of God which is perfect, is wrongfully interpreted quite often. And it is my belief until Jesus returns we will have this problem. But God in His great Grace has allowed the true believers to understand the Basics of Faith. We will not fully comprehend God until we see Jesus face to face (I Corinthians 13:9-13, I John 3:1-3).

So I think the Word of God is our final authority, but until Jesus returns we will not fully comprehend His Words.
 
H

Harley_Angel

Guest
#11
Do you think that even if we misinterpret some things and get some things wrong, God will forgive us if we were doing things with love in our hearts?
 
J

Jezreel

Guest
#12
Absolutely! I believed some things that I was taught that I do not believe anymore. Any teaching or wisdom that does not give glory to Jesus is very questionable. Jesus says that he will not give his glory to another and, the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. Just pray that God makes your heart willing to believe in the way that he wants you to believe and help you discern when somebody is teaching you a bunch of crap. "If any man lacks wisdom let him ask and God who upbraideth you will teach you". "The comforter which is the holy spirit whom the father is sending in his name, (Jesus) he will teach you all things and bring to remembrance everything that I have said." God is longsuffering and he knows that we are but dust.
 

pickles

Senior Member
Apr 20, 2009
14,440
148
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#13
I once got into a debate with a friend that had changed to a questionable form of faith. he asked how I new when the Spirit spoke to me verces my own understanding. I was in my late teens then so my exspeariance was still limited. All I could tell him at that time was I knew. It was a knowlage not from my mind but my heart, soul. As Ive grown through the years I have asked myself each time, when I recieved understanding, knowledge, prophetic word or interpitation. The first way of knowing is it will come true. The most important way is as I said before, I knew. I have come to know it more as years have gone by. The knowledge comes from within my heart,spirit. It is a knowing likened to Our Lord saying I am. The knowledge is. Also it is not heard in the mind but in the heart. I still have times when Im not sure. Ussually when I want a gift or answer for someone so much that my own feelings get in the way. But as said by others in Jesus, you trust in Jesus and all is glorified by his grace. God bless, pickles
 

dscherck

Banned [Reason: persistent, ongoing Catholic heres
Aug 3, 2009
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#14
Well, the Scriptures seem to be quite clear on what is the Ultimate Christian Authority. It is the Church. The Church is the pillar and foundation of the Truth. (1 Tim 3:15). So then, when we realize that it is the Church that is the ultimate authority for Christianity, we need to figure out, what is the Church? Which church is THE Church that is spoken of as being the pillar and foundation of Truth?

For me, the search for the answer to that question had me taking a look through history. Going back to the writings of the earliest Christians, and figuring out what they taught. And from there, seeing if any churches nowadays still teach those things. To be honest, I wasn't too happy with what my research led me to. I struggled with it quite a bit, but in the end, I had to humble myself and accept that the Church is the one I once opposed as "un-biblical." It is the Church that I once foolishly believed to be the "whore of Babylon." But I was mistaken, and in being humbled and realizing my foolishness, Christ gave me a peace and joy that is beyond words. When I accepted God's will, and His Truth, and His Church, I received more than I ever asked for. Christ's Church is real, it's still here, it has withstood centuries of repression and still grew, it's produced countless martyrs and saints. But don't take my word for it. Look to the writings of the earliest Christians. We can read the words of ancient Christians like Polycarp (who learned the faith from the gospel writer, John), Eusbieus of Ceaserea (who wrote one of the earliest histories of the Church), Augustine (who wrote the famous Confessions), Nicholas of Myra (who stood up to the heresy of Arianism and defended the belief that Jesus is Lord), etc. Find the early Church, find out what it taught, and seek to find which Church today teaches the same. You might be surprised. :)
 
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